Printing Impressions

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President, Print Oasis Print Buyers Conference

Connecting with Print Buyers

By Suzanne Morgan

About Suzanne

Suzanne Morgan is president of the annual Print Oasis Print Buyers Conference (www.printoasis.com) and Print Buyers Online.com, a free educational e-community for print buyers and their print suppliers (www.printbuyersonline.com). PBO has more than 11,000 members who buy $13 billion a year in printing. PBO conducts weekly research on buying trends and teaches organizations how to work more effectively with their print suppliers.

 

The Sales Rep’s Obligatory Mantra: ‘We’ve got great quality’

 
As a former print buyer, trust me when I say that just about every print sales rep claims his/her company has great quality. But God (or the devil – you choose) is in the details on this one. So don’t give lip service to quality assurance. Simply stating “We’ve got great quality” won’t persuade a prospective customer that your company’s product quality is acceptable. Even showing print samples has its limits and can be a real “yawner” if those samples aren’t accompanied by a story about how those print pieces provided value for the buying company.

Think about selling the quality of your company’s products this way: What print buyers are most concerned about is print predictability—the ability to predict what their jobs will look like before going to press. They also want assurance that your staff will follow established procedures every step of the way to ensure accuracy and quality.

So instead of making generalized statements about your company’s quality levels, be very specific about what YOUR company does to provide print predictability, measure quality and meet customer expectations.

One great way to demonstrate your company’s commitment to quality is to give prospective customers a copy of the quality control procedures your company routinely follows as a job moves through the plant. (You’ve got one of those quality control manuals, right? If not – get moving!)

I know of one direct mail company that wows prospective customers with a 100 plus page manual. While this is not absolute proof that a company follows its own procedures, it is certainly much more comforting than working with a company that doesn’t even document its procedures.

Offer specific examples, preferably without prompting, about your company’s quality assurance programs. Buyers are more likely to use a prospective supplier that provides a detailed list of procedures for what will be checked in each department.

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